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June 8, 2012 / mike54martin

Ten Signs of a Difficult Person Part I

                                                                         Are You a Difficult Person?

Dealing with difficult people is always an interesting workshop topic and many books (including one by me) have been written on the subject but what I have discovered is that before I could deal with the difficult people in my life I had to look in the mirror and ask a very important question. Am I a difficult person? So to help you (and all the people around you) here is Part I of the Ten Signs of a Difficult Person.

                                                                     Ten Signs of a Difficult Person  Part I

1. You have few friends at work

It may be that everyone else is a snob or you may be new at your job. Give it a little time and see what happens. Be a nice, helpful person and do your job well and most people who are not difficult will respond in kind. If you still have few friends after a year or so even after your best efforts then you should consider leaving. It may not be the right fit for you. If you find that you make friends at work and then lose them fairly regularly, it’s all about you. You are a probably a difficult person to get along with.

2. You have serious low self-esteem at work

Some of us are born this way but most of us get low self-esteem from messages that we have been given as a child, usually from our parents. As adults we often have to work very hard to stay positive about ourselves. If you find that your self-esteem is low, or getting lower at your place of employment, it may be that you have someone triggering those feelings in you. If that is the case you have to find a way to deal with it in a positive manner or move on. If you are a difficult person you will not be able to process this input and may find that your self-worth is even decreasing. Your response may be to either further withdraw or lash back. Either way, you are being a difficult person.

3. You feel shunned or ignored at work

If you feel shunned or ignored at work then it is either your feeling or it is real. If you think it is just a feeling, then ask one of your co-workers. An honest person will tell you that it’s your perfume or lack of deodorant. If you do not change then you are a difficult person. If you are really being shunned at work then you need to figure out why. If it is because you are just a superior wit and intellect you may want to dummy down for a while. If it is because you can’t keep a secret or blame other people for your mistakes then you are probably a difficult person. To not change these behaviors makes you a truly difficult person.

4. You feel people pull back when you come close

Once again, review your personal hygiene. If that’s not it, then you may need to ask someone why it appears that they or others are pulling back from you. Be prepared for an answer you may not like and try not to react. They may tell you that they are afraid of your reaction to things, that you are too negative, or that you are always complaining. If you react you lose all of the points you have accumulated to date and have to admit you are a difficult person. If having heard the truth from the lips of your co-worker you choose to ignore it, you move up into the officer class of difficult people.

5. Your boss tells you that you need help

Your boss may be a very difficult person to work with. He or she may be a controlling bully or just a mean old dog. But if they ever tell you “I think you need help”, that is one surefire way to know that you are a difficult person. By the time you reach this point you would have had plenty of opportunities to screw up and just as many opportunities to change. You have chosen to continue and to have your boss name it is just the icing on a well-baked cake. You have formally arrived as a difficult person.

(Excerpted from “Change the Things You Can: Dealing with Difficult People” by Mike Martin. Available at,, and


Leave a Comment
  1. Kitty Kilian (@KittyKilian) / Jun 8 2012 7:25 pm

    Hourray, I am not difficult!

    • mike54martin / Jun 8 2012 9:48 pm

      That would be true, but then again like me you work on your own. And you haven’t seen part 2 of the list

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